Continuing Claims Higher Again

Weekly jobless claims left a sour taste in investors' mouths this morning. Despite coming in lower (by 249K) for a ninth consecutive week—the longest streak of week over week declines on record—seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims once again came in well into the millions at 1.877 million. Additionally, last week’s number was revised up 3K to 2.126 million. This week’s print was also once again above expectations of 1.8 million. Ironically enough, despite a record streak of weekly declines, jobless claims have been weaker than expected for six consecutive weeks. That’s the longest streak of weaker than expected prints since November of 2013.

On a non seasonally adjusted basis, claims fell 314.6K and are a bit lower at 1.6 million. This week marked an eighth straight week with WoW declines which is tied with streaks from 1972, 1975, 1980, 1991, and 2002 for the longest such streak ever. This week’s extra 1.6 million claims brings the total NSA claims filed since March 20th (first weekly print above 1 million) to 42.6 million.

Another sticking point of this week’s jobless claims release was the continuing claims number which resumed WoW increases after a massive decline last week. This week, continuing claims were up to 21.49 from 20.84 last week.

Last week, we noted the reason for skepticism as continuing claims recorded its largest one week decline ever thanks to massive outliers like Florida and California which saw claims drop by an unexplained 76.35% and 40.46%, respectively. This week (week of May 23rd), a large share of the overall move can once again be largely accredited to California where claims rose 28.69% WoW. Florida also saw a sizeable uptick of 14.54% from last week. Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas were the other states that largely accounted for this week’s increase in continuing claims. 

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